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Open Mic Night in Moscow: And Other Stories from My Search for Black Markets, Soviet Architecture, and Emotionally Unavailable Russian Men

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Open Mic Night in Moscow: And Other Stories from My Search for Black Markets, Soviet Architecture, and Emotionally Unavailable Russian Men.

The raucous and surprisingly poignant story of a young, Russia-obsessed American writer and comedian who embarked on a solo tour of the former Soviet Republics, never imagining that it would involve kidnappers, garbage bags
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published July 24th 2018 by William Morrow
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  190 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Start your review of Open Mic Night in Moscow: And Other Stories from My Search for Black Markets, Soviet Architecture, and Emotionally Unavailable Russian Men
Audrey Murray
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved writing this book. (Have not yet had a chance to read it.)
A. S.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Open Mic Night in Moscow” is a chronicle of stand-up comedian’s Audrey Murray’s trip to the former Soviet republics (inspired by her Russian ex-boyfriends). Most of the book is spent on countries like Uzbekistan/Kazhakastan/Tajikistan/Turkeministan (the more Asian parts of the former sprawling Soviet Union land mass), while the last third finishes off with the European republics (Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, and lastly Russia).

Murray accompanies her travelogue with historical back
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When was the last time a copy right page made you laugh? Never before? Same here, until I read this book and I laughed all the way through while learning all about the former Soviet Union. One of the best books I’ve read in 2018.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Expectation: Written by a comedian, so I should laugh at least a little.
Reality: Not funny to me at all. Maybe others would find it funny but it just totally fell flat on me. Oh well.

Expectation: Travel story of someone around my age and similar upbringing. I should be able to relate to the author pretty well.
Reality: The author is emotionally immature and entitled. There's far too much obsessing about past relationships and very little growth or progress on her part desp
Wendi Gu
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you like laughing, if you like deadpan wit, if you are curious about Russia and wonder about the land that made Putin possible, PLEASE READ THIS! Punched through with fun, this book. You won't regret picking it up.
Alexandra Butterworth
Jul 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
The writing was good and the humor was alright. I actually enjoyed the author’s tone and voice but I just kept getting so irate at the whole thing. Who goes so unprepared to Eastern Europe and then expects it to all just work out?!
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I genuinely really liked this book. Full of adventure, love for Russia (and CIS), Russian language, Russian men (ahem). Funny, but not overly sarcastic. And of course it is great to see a woman travelling alone perspective that we don't see nearly enough in books and movies.
Ciaran Monaghan
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked this as I was looking for an audiobook and the title piqued my interest as a Russophile. Then, as the trip she was taking sounded like something I wanted to do myself, I decided to give it a go. It is similar to other off-the-beaten track travelogues where the narrator is under-prepared and gets in to all kinds of scrapes and it gave me all kinds of grand ideas for my own trip. However, it is (or feels) extremely long and it has taken me a really long time to get through which I wasn't ...more
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book! It made me laugh. I also learned a lot about the "stan" countries. (I have to confess that I used a map to keep track of the places.) The author REALLY knows how to tell a good story! Highly recommended.
Enchanted Prose
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Why undertake daring solo travel to the former Soviet Union republics? (in Central Asia, the Baltic states, Eastern Europe, and Russia, 2015 to 2016): Let’s say you have a twenty-eight-year-old friend whose single. She grew up in Boston, currently lives in your Brooklyn, New York neighborhood. What if she told you her “pipedream” was to travel to eleven (for now) of the fifteen countries once part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991, the majority still autocratic regimes? By herself. ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a book that I just happened to randomly buy at Barnes and Noble. I had forgotten how fun that was: not reading reviews and if other people liked the book, but just taking a chance on a book you pick up and read the back cover on.

I picked this up because I used to live in Moscow and I felt like reading about a woman who travels. Well, only about 20 pages of the 400-page book was about Moscow. But that's ok. At times I was slightly annoyed about how American the book was, but on the othe
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I held off on reviewing this book because I needed some time to sit with it. It wasn't at all what I had expected when I opened to the first page, but it surprised me in a really pleasant way. After reading the blurb, I had thought it would mostly be filled with jokes and shallow travel anecdotes designed to elicit snickers from the reader, but the author provided some great insights into the countries she visited. I particularly appreciated her musings about cross-cultural relationships, how ou ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was hard to rate because of many reasons. The first was that this author has a pretty good writing style, but I often found myself frustrated beyond belief with the content. She traveled to these places with little to no information on them (besides the fact that they are authoritarian states that have terrible human rights records) and expects everything to be hunky dory. For the first part of the book, it didn't seem like any time had passed before we were getting another boarder cro ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: russia, cultural, travel
A 28-year-old comedian, having done minimal planning or research and with no Russian competence, bumbles around eleven former Soviet states; rides on the backs of English-speaking locals; thinks every handsome man she encounters is available and interested, every woman who helps her wants to be best friends, and everyone else is out to scam her (even the yaks eat people); runs from her problems; can’t stop obsessing over past relationships; mocks religion and traditions; spends far more time in ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Murray's humour knocked my socks off. I actually was giggling on the bus, which I never do.

She is frank about travel (and its sometimes profundity/disappointment); her stories are wild yet believable; and she is deeply personal in a way that really moved me (sometimes even embarrassed me because she was so forthcoming). You feel like she is putting explicit trust in you by revealing her innermost insecurities, all the while showing her resilience and endless wit.

I don't u
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm going to say 4 stars. I may rating it higher than it really deserves but that's because I didn't expect to enjoy it. It was a random grab off the library shelf and it worked out. I learned a few things I didn't know. The narrative made me laugh and almost cry too. Also, she stayed honest and it goes to show that not all American tourists deserve the reputation of entitled liitterbug. At least not all the time. You should read this book
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book about a part of the world most of us know little about - The former Soviet Union. A contemporaneous account of her travels through all the "stans".

I do feel it was a mistake to market the book as humor or comedy.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m very grateful that Audrey shows by example that you can still be a procrastinating, untrusting, hangry human being and still successfully manage a multi-month trip through places where you neither know anyone nor speak the language.

Audrey is real throughout this book- any lessons or transformative moments were not contrived but came as a result of kindness being forced upon her from strangers, despite her most stubborn efforts to sabotage all non-awkward social interactions.

I very much con
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book recounts the adventures of the author as she visits all of the countries that once made up the Soviet Union. The chapters vary from hilarious adventures to thoughtful musings on romance, yaks, bad breakups, moths, Genghis Khan, and society’s expectations of women. She visits a museum in the middle of the desert where a collector secretly amassed the works of banned Soviet artists, camps beside a crater that has been burning for forty years, and becomes an expert on trading currency in ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, travel
I didn't hate this, but I didn't really find it humorous. The jokes largely fall flat. But you're able to learn more about some countries that are, shall we say, definitely off the beaten path. Too much talk about the Belarusian ex boyfriend. I do relate to some of the struggles about trying to decide what to do with your life though. Reading this spiked by anxiety several times. I don't know if I can keep reading these memoirs about women traveling alone. Good for them, but there were so many p ...more
Chase Taylor
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. I came in expecting a funny book, which I got, but did not expect to learn as much as I did. The author's misadventures through the former SSRs are at times charming, painfully awkward, and illuminating. Her self-deprecating approach distinguishes her from other travel writers who can often seem self-righteous and willfully culturally insensitive. She comes in with no illusions and copes as she can, often with hilarious, but sometimes jarring, results. Good travel read!
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great! I really enjoyed her writing style and it was a great traveler's journey through many (if not all) of the former states of the U.S.S.R. It made me want to visit one or two (but not ALL) 🙄

I really liked how she talked about how things worked in the various countries without going off on a tangent about politics. In fact, I REALLY liked how (mostly) apolitical it was!

I will definitely recommend it to my book club, many of who are world travelers!😎
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, memoir
At the start the narrative was a little too obvious that the author is a stand-up comedienne - but the writing eventually grew on me. I liked reading about traveling in countries I have never dreamed of visiting. There's not really a resolution exactly --- which is a little odd given how much of the book is focused on Audrey's emotional torture about what route her life should take. Entertaining but not a must-read.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Twenty eight year old Audrey is an American writer and a stand-up comedian and has only dated Russian men - so sort of Russian obsessed. After her most recent breakup from Anton, she decides to take a year and travel through Central Asia and the former Soviet Union. A memoir and great travel guide with lots of humor throughout, I found this to be an very entertaining read.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is hands-down one of the funniest books I’ve read in a really long time, and as someone who’s been obsessed with Eastern Europe for longer, I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. How many titles make you actually laugh out loud?
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, especially since I have always been fascinated by all things Russian and East European. I do wish she had visited Moldova though because I actually have already read a book about it. What an adventurous woman. If I could only be half as adventurous I would die happy!
Lara Seven
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the only travel narrative I've ever read that has Tajikistan (and all the other -stans) in it. A very funny and insightful book.
Rebecca Fishbein
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a fun and fascinating read! Audrey is hilarious (and very brave).
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, ham-library
Very entertaining travelogue.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anastasia is a Dream Works movie, I trust nothing. Other than that loved it 4 stars.
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